Among the great battles today for our eyeballs and attention, the rivalry between mobile devices and desktop computers just keeps getting more heated. And the month of October marked another blow to desktop with mobile internet browsing outpacing desktop for the first time globally.

51.3% of internet usage worldwide came from phones and tablets compared to 48.7% by desktop, according to StatCounter. In a mature market like the UK, desktop continues to reign supreme. But the trend is still moving in the same global direction. It’s an important reminder that businesses need to keep mobile optimisation front and centre of their online strategy, especially when looking at trade with markets outside the European Union.

“Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India for example has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices,” warns Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter.

In case the message wasn’t loud and clear before, it should be shouting from the rooftops now. Optimising your business for mobile is more important than ever. Below, we list some basic things you can do to make your business more mobile-friendly.

Make your website mobile-friendly

More consumers than ever are using mobile devices to do their browsing and online shopping. And if that wasn’t reason enough for a mobile-friendly website, Google rewards mobile-friendly pages with higher rankings in mobile search results.

One great way to achieve this is to make your website responsive. Responsive design means the site senses the display dimensions of the machine accessing it and adjusts the layout to match. The benefit is that whether someone is logging into your website from a phone, tablet, or desktop, they will all see a clean layout tailored for their device. Because no one should be subjected to horizontal scrolling and zooming to read text.

Optimise emails for mobile

Email newsletters and offers are a staple of a great marketing strategy. It’s important to have great, engaging content in your emails to customers but remember to make sure they look good on a mobile device as well as a desktop. Don’t overload your emails with intensive images or graphics. Use links to your social media and business web pages liberally. And make sure call-to-action buttons and links are prominent and clearly visible on phones as well as from desktop browsers.

Try out texting

Texts aren’t just good for asking people if they’re awake. SMS marketing has been gaining ground in recent years and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike email, you’re not limited to a smartphone or computer to read it. And while businesses will struggle with email open rates, texts get 90% of people reading it within the first 3 minutes. Some great promotions to try out over SMS include time-sensitive discounts and limited quantity.

Go beyond the mobile app

There are over 2 million apps available on the leading app stores right now. And we’re seeing some signs of app fatigue coming along with that overabundance of selection. Users now spend 80% of their time in just five apps. So while developing a mobile app still makes sense for some businesses, it’s time to think about building a mobile experience strategy that engages customers from multiple channels.

"We call this app-plus, where a company will still have to have an app in many cases, but will also have a portfolio of mobile services like a presence on Facebook Messenger or in various chatbots," Julie Ask, analyst at research firm Forrester, told cio.com.

In Summary…

Being mobile-friendly doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, businesses can leverage it into a strategic advantage. And if you haven’t started yet, just take another look at the mobile vs desktop trend as a reminder that the time to do so is now. Businesses that have adapted are already reaping the benefits.

About the author

Kelly Paik is a freelance writer covering science and technology. She hails from San Francisco where she spent some time in the trenches of Silicon Valley, from where she brings that inside perspective as she serves the latest on innovations and updates in the tech industry.